We all want to do what’s best for our pets, but sometimes caring for them can be downright expensive. Here are a few tips to help you save money and hopefully keep your pet healthy for many years to come.
If don’t already have the supplies, get a specially-made pet toothbrush and toothpaste (they come in various flavors) and make it a routine. Pets suffer from the same dental problems as people (plaque, tartar, gingivitis, etc.) and should have their teeth brushed daily to avoid costly veterinary procedures. Perhaps instead of your pet needing a $500-1000 intensive dental cleaning every year, your veterinarian will recommend only doing it every two or three years.
Fleas and ticks are not only a nuisance; they can be dangerous – even deadly – for our pets. Fortunately, there are many types of preventatives to choose from these days. Discuss with your veterinarian which type best fits your needs, and consider preventatives that are longer lasting. Some preventatives can offer your pet protection against nasty flea and ticks for up to 12 weeks. This can be both convenient and more economical for you in the long run.
Feeding a high quality pet food is one of the simplest yet most important things you can do. A properly balanced diet will help ensure that your pet will remain in good health with a shiny coat and a strong immune and digestive system. You may end up spending a little more at the check-out line, but the overall investment should save you hundreds!
Portion-control is not only crucial in maintaining your pet’s health but cost effective. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over 50% of dogs and cats are overweight or obese. A big part of the problem is excess calories due to overfeeding. Portion sizes will vary depending on the age, size, and activity level of the pet. Read the pet food label and discuss with your veterinarian how many calories your pet should consume daily. Then portion out the meals using a measuring cup.
An overweight or obese pet can be more prone to suffer from expensive and life-threatening health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Exercise with your pet regularly to help avoid encountering such problems. Often all it takes is 15-30 minutes a day of physical activities (combined with a proper diet) to ensure your pet remains at a healthy weight. Discuss with your veterinarian about how often and how long your pet should exercise, especially if the dog or cat already is overweight.
Every year thousands of dollars are spent on treating pets for accidents and poisonings. Pet-proof your home in order to avoid common pet emergencies such as poisonings and electrocutions. Start by walking your entire house imagining what a pet could eat, climb, or pull down, and then secure those things. Your yard should also be pet-proofed. Check for loose boards along the fence, unlocked gate latches, and trash, recycle bins and other potentially dangerous containers that may not be properly sealed or stored.
Setting up a savings plan for expected pet care costs like vaccinations, heartworm testing and annual exams is not only possible but also practical. For unexpected or catastrophic events, you may want to consider shopping for a pet insurance plan. Either way, plan wisely. Borrowing money to pay for your pet's healthcare can end up increasing the real price of your pet care exponentially.
Many pet product manufacturers and stores offer coupons and rebates that can help save you money on things you were already going to buy for Fido or Fluffy. Some coupons can even be presented on your mobile phone at the time of purchase, which saves you the time of clipping them out of a newspaper. It is, however, important that you don’t chase savings by continually switching certain items like pet food and medications. Often pets become accustomed to a certain type of food or medication and may suffer from adverse reactions when making an abrupt change. If you are considering making a change, consult your veterinarian on how to best approach the situation.